When the Way Seems Hard
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs
in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring
whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11 niv)
Though our family encountered many challenges last year, through them all, God faithfully guided and provided grace, mercy and peace. He is our good Shepherd, leading and guiding even when the path seems treacherous, when the land seems barren, when your burden is heavy and the way is dark and gloomy.
I want to encourage you that whenever you face challenges in life—and you will—always remember that God will use those challenges to mature you in your walk as you trust in Him. He is Faithful and He will strengthen your faith for the journey. His Holy Spirit will comfort you as you lay your burdens at the foot of the cross.
Similarly, when you encounter opportunities, pray and seek God’s counsel as to how He wants to expand your borders and your vision. You will not be disappointed! My father and mother have made it their life-long practice to always seek the Lord before moving forward or expanding into new fields of ministry.
During the holidays, our teams across south Asia were confronted with many obstacles that prevented them from publicly acknowledging the birth of Jesus or celebrating Christmas in any way. However, through prayer and determination, the Lord made a way in many situations.
When the district police in the city of Lanni denied our Alpha Church permission to celebrate Christmas publicly, the pastor went to the regional police for assistance. When it seemed that his efforts would be in vain, permission was granted at the very last minute and a police squad was assigned duty at the venue for protection.
The Lanni church members printed 1700 invitation cards for the Christmas celebration and nearly 1500 people showed up—half of whom had never heard the gospel! It was a firecracker of a celebration with hundreds dancing and praising the Lord, and our Alpha Ministries pastor (MN) preached for an hour declaring Christ as the Savior of the world.
The entire crowd was fed a sumptuous meal, and the police officers even enjoyed the program and were each given a New Testament. The next day, the local paper carried the news that the Lanni Alpha Church organized a Christmas celebration and that there was much joy as the gospel was shared—complete with pictures. God is on the move in the world today!
God is also moving in Saakasa Village, where pastor RB and his team launched a public Christmas rally. They went through the streets singing about the Savior who was born on Christmas day and nearly 450 people attended the public Christmas program in the main city square.
A well-known evangelist preached and a music team led special songs. Many bystanders said they had never seen a public rally go so peacefully and without trash littering the streets. The church had maintained the cleanliness of the city streets and received praise from community leaders. Many have asked to know more about Christ as a result.
The Alpha Church in Gujarat hosted the annual Christmas Day pageant in the University auditorium where 650 people gathered. The youth and children presented the entire gospel to the audience through skits and songs. In the end, Jesus was preached. Over 150 in attendance heard the Gospel for the first time.
A number of public schools gave us permission to do Christmas programs where we shared the Christmas message through singing carols. The youth did an event in the college women’s hostel where 150 college students stay. It was remarkable to see the songs and testimonies impact the hearts of the people. Most of the women commented on their surprise that it was possible to have a relationship with God. They had never heard of anything like that.
There are many more stories I could share about the many ways God opened doors for us and your partnership made it possible for us to proclaim the Good News!
Remember that many of these victories were achieved in a country that the organization Open Doors ranks as the 10th most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian, where “violence and injustice against Christians is on a deadly rise by more than 400 percent in recent years.” I can’t stress enough how important your prayers are as we continue.
I can tell you on behalf of the church planters, pastors, children, youth, churches and families we represent worldwide—your prayers and generosity are a lifeline for which we are all tremendously grateful. Please continue to pray for our teams as we labor to serve the persecuted church in South Asia and make disciples by training and equipping the frontline workers of the harvest. The Gospel is still vehemently resisted in some of the regions we reach, but we continue to press on, proclaiming the love of God.
Thank you for partnering with Alpha Ministries as we eagerly look for more ways to serve God and meet the needs around us in 2020! I believe God has tremendous opportunities ahead for us this year, and I am very glad to know that you are part of this work as we move forward.